Movie Review – The Social Network

Plot: The Social Network is based on the true story of how Facebook got started and the controversy surrounding Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and the youngest billionaire.  As Facebook rapidly grows in popularity, Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) faces two law suits, one of which he is accused of stealing the idea, and the other a personal conflict with his best friend and business partner, Eduardo (Andrew Garfield).

I was a little worried in the first five minutes of The Social Network.  The movie begins with the main character, Mark Zuckerberg, and his date, Erica (Rooney Mara).  They were talking so damn fast to the point where it was distracting and I couldn’t even keep up with what they were talking about.  This movie was written by Aaron Sorkin of West Wing fame, and one of the reasons why I was turned off by that show and some of his writing in general is because of the overly clever fast talking bull crap.  But after the initial scene, The Social Network turned out to be a pretty damn good movie, and a fantastic script from Sorkin.

And as far as the director David Fincher goes, I absolutely hated his last effort, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but in The Social Network, it’s a job well done.  Facebook and social networking changed our culture, and I usually don’t like to watch movies where they touch on a cultural changing topic that just happened, like in the case of Facebook.  I think these things should sink in for years and then we can get a movie about them.  It makes sense for the film to exist now, as Facebook is something that is constantly changing everyday.

The single best part about this movie is that Zuckerberg is a complete jackass, but I found myself siding with him even though he pulls some jerk moves.  Eisenberg really plays this role perfectly.  He’s just the right amount of a-hole that you don’t hate him.  He’s just so damn smart in how he handles everything that even though everyone around him is getting screwed over, they seem like morons by comparison, and I just can’t side with the morons.

Zuckerberg faces two law suits.  One is with the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) who are huge rowing stars at Harvard.  Although they have a legit claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea, the film makes it very clear Zuckerberg took their lame little idea and made it into something bad ass.  The way Zuckerberg handles all this is both smarmy and hilarious that I couldn’t help but feel the Winklevoss twins were just pathetic.  I felt bad for them the way I feel bad for the Buffalo Bills, but I don’t actually care about them.

The other law suit the film explores is between Zuckerberg and his best friend/business partner, Eduardo.  This relationship is more sympathetic towards Eduardo.  Eduardo is Zuckerberg’s only true friend, but who still gets screwed over.  You side with Eduardo.  He’s a good guy just trying to help his friend.  Eduardo is smart, but he makes decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the Facebook.  It’s because of this that I side once again with Zuckerberg who always seems to be in control and a step above everyone else.  The crux of the film is watching Zuckerberg build his empire in the jerkiest way possible, but also the smartest.

What else do I love in this movie?  Justin Timberlake.  This guy has been trying to break into the acting scene for a while, and he finally discovered his break-out performance as Sean Parker, the angsty inventor of Napster.  I love his performance and role in the film.  He doesn’t want to see Zuckerberg’s website turn into a disaster like his, and he almost lives vicariously through him.  Even though his brilliance is equal to Zuckerberg’s, the feeling of an implosion looms over this character the entire movie.  The conflict between him and Eduardo is also intense throughout.  Eduardo is a traditionalist who wants to treat Facebook like any other business, whereas Parker is the scary new unorthodox opposition.  Much like Zuckerberg always gets the best of people, every tiff between Parker and Eduardo, its Parker who seems to get the edge with some great dialogue.

This leads into one of the small complaints I have.  The conflicts between the secondary characters overshadow Zuckerberg’s character in the second half.  In fact, Zuckerberg kind of fades into the background and is almost along for the ride as Garfield and Timberlake take over the story.

The movie also ends abruptly.  Although there is a satisfying conclusion to the Eduardo/Zuckerberg situation, the one with the Winklevoss twins is forgotten about later in the film.  This was frustrating because I was really into this story.  The Winklevoss twins really try not to be your typical elitist jerks, but they have a business partner named Divya, played brilliantly by Max Minghella, who is just salivating at screwing over Zuckerberg.  He’s hysterical and has one of the best lines in the film that I dare not spoil.  It sucked that he didn’t get a satisfying conclusion other than a little blurb at the end.

All in all though, a pretty fascinating story about a subject matter everyone seems to be obsessed with: Facebook.  This is a great script, with great performances, and great directing for an overall great movie.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)

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